By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

U.S., China to sign climate deal

by in Environment.

Fog and smog in Beijing. (Source: Theis Kofoed Hjorth/flickr)

Fog and smog in Beijing. (Source: Theis Kofoed Hjorth/flickr)

The world watched last December as global leaders came together in Paris to reach an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and take further measures to stem the tides of climate change. But the climate agreement reached then needs at least 55 countries to formally accede to it before it can be enforced. This week, the U.S. and China have confirmed that they will sign the Paris climate change agreement in New York on April 22..

That said, The New York Times reports that the U.S. has run into a roadblock in terms of meeting its commitment under the Paris deal: the Supreme Court put a hold on Obama’s emissions limits for power plants. But an Obama adviser said that the White House is confident that the limits will be upheld in time, and that tax credits for wind and solar will “help bridge the gap until the power plant emissions limit take effect.”

China has particular reason to sign on board: the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions is nowhere more obvious than in Beijing, which has been subject to a devastating smog problem over the past couple of years. The Chinese government pledged funds to cut emissions well ahead of the gathering last December.

The announcements from both  the U.S. and China may spur on other countries expected to sign the accord in April. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier this month that he expects 120 or more countries will sign, according to Reuters. The sooner the better.